Over the next two weeks, FDA and CDC committees will meet to decide whether to authorize and recommend use of a Pfizer vaccine for the age group, which could become available soon after. In a press briefing Wednesday, agency officials say they’re making preparations to allow doses to be shipped out as soon as the vaccine is authorized.
Providers in Texas Wednesday were able to start placing pre-orders for the children’s vaccine, which will be have its own formula and dosing. One dose of the children’s vaccine, for example, will be a third of the size of the one being currently given to adults and adolescents. It will also arrive with supplies, like smaller needles, intended for use in children.
The Biden administration says it already has enough vaccine for all 28 million children in the United States who fall in the intended age range.
A bigger challenge could be vaccine hesitancy. It’s no surprise kids, like nine year old Charley McDaniel of Richardson, aren’t particularly excited about getting the vaccine.
“Cause it’s a shot,” she said. But her mother, Jennifer McDaniel, is also wary. “Giving it to such a young child that’s still developing, that kind of scares me,” she said.
While the CDC reports 79% of adults have received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, that’s true of only 63% of 16 to17-year-olds and 55% of 12 to 15-year-olds. That rate is likely to be even lower among younger children.
A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found about a third of parents with children ages 5-11 are ready to get them vaccinated “right away”. Another 1/3 told researchers they plan to “wait and see”.
“For my kids, I probably will not – will opt to not get the vaccine immediately like I did for myself. I think I need to talk to more medical professionals and get their opinions and input. I really just need to know more,” said McDaniel.
The White House says it plans to launch an education campaign to make sure parents get their questions answered. It’s also working to get the vaccine to the doctors they trust most.
It worked with Pfizer to make the children’s vaccine available in smaller quantities to make it easier for pediatricians, family doctors, and community clinics to obtain. Instead of having to order 1,170 doses at time, they’ll be able to get as few as 100. The vaccine will also last up to 10 weeks in a normal refrigerator.
Jennifer McDaniel says she’ll be watching as they become publicly available for children to see if any issues arise. “And I may change my mind.”